Alumni Q&A: An Interview with J School Alumnus Joe Freihofer

J School Alumnus, Joe Freihofer

Joe Freihofer graduated from Michigan State in Spring 2021 with a double major in Spanish and Journalism. He recently received First Place honors in the National Television Broadcast News category of the Hearst National Championship for his video, which came with a $10,000 prize. Freihofer beat out competition from Arizona, Missouri, and Florida for his video project about a Nashville small business overcoming adversity. Freihofer is currently a Videography Intern at Nashville Soccer Club.

When you look back at your life and work so far, tell us about an event or accomplishment that gives you the most pride? 
Having met such incredible faculty through the J-School who I get to call mentors for life and discovering what storytelling is truly about, as well as crossing paths with amazing students who are all chasing their passions in the field.

What inspires you to work toward your goals and ambitions? 
Seeing the smiles on the faces of my Grandpa and family after I make a piece and slowly chasing my dream of working abroad one day.

Could you describe a typical day in your professional life? 
Arriving at the team office, editing shots together for cinematic pieces on social media, loading in gear and shooting a match at Nissan Stadium, logging footage and pitching video content for the coming days.

What are some of the greatest challenges and opportunities you have encountered working in your field? 
The true grind of meeting a deadline while still telling a compelling story in the news industry has been a massive challenge. Also, finding emotion in every piece to touch people and make them feel something at the end of every narration sign-off. Incredible opportunities have been shadowing local news reporters, working for BTN Student U, and interning in my dream sport of soccer.

What would you consider to be a defining point in your life or career? 
Living in Spain in 2019.

What is the most important lesson you have learned along the way? 
Everyone just wants to be told a good story, take them there and make them care.

What opportunities did you have at MSU or ComArtSci that helped you get where you are today?  Anchoring or producing for the Spartan Sports Report, reporting for Focal Point News, and working for BTN Student U.

What advice would you give to MSU and ComArtSci students? 
Watch the upperclassmen around you, stay late to truly get to know your professors, and follow professionals that keep you inspired and chasing your dream.

How do you give back to your community or motivate others to work toward the common good? 
I try my best to always be a positive person in the room and leave people smiling, through storytelling, getting to know one another, or even just a brief crossing of paths. Unpacking people’s stories is one of the greatest joys in life and telling them to others is even more fulfilling.

If you could offer a message of encouragement, comfort, or support, what would you say directly to students who are studying at ComArtSci? 
Don’t forget to smell the roses. From class assignments, to reporting and anchoring for a show, to that first interview for a summer position, every moment is a steppingstone towards chasing your dream. Never take that journey for granted, for it is just as fun as reaching that final destination, whatever yours may be.

By: Joe Strother

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